Weekly Review — March 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council imposed military and financial sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, freezing his assets and placing an arms embargo on Libya. The Security Council also voted to open a war-crimes investigation based on Qaddafi’s brutal response to antigovernment protests; estimates of the death toll since protests began on Februay 17 range from hundreds to 2,000. Egyptian cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi, famous for his fatwas, ordered officers in the Libyan army to “shoot a bullet at Mr. Qaddafi,” and President Barack Obama called for Qaddafi to step down. Security forces loyal to Qaddafi reportedly shot protesters and ran them down with cars, while military aircraft were used to bomb rebels. As Qaddafi’s security forces comprising police, military, and African mercenaries gathered in Tripoli to defend the leader’s stronghold, Libyans hid inside their homes. “They won’t just shoot us,” said one Tripoli resident. “Maybe they will get revenge on the whole household, the whole family, even the whole street. These people have no mercy. We have known them for 42 years.” Qaddafi, who referred to protesters as “cockroaches,” appeared in Tripoli’s Green Square and promised that his government would “defeat any aggression,” then encouraged his supporters to “dance” and “sing and get ready.” He blamed the unrest on al Qaeda, who he claimed were “exploiting” Libyan youth by “putting hallucinogenic pills in their coffee with milk, like Nescafé.” WaPoAl JazeeraHaaretzWaPoAl JazeeraMSNBCBBCSky News

More than 70,000 protesters rallied in Madison, Wisconsin, against Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to strip public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights. The state’s Republican-controlled assembly passed Walker’s plan, while fourteen Democrats in the state senate continued hiding in Illinois to stall a vote in the upper house, where Republicans also hold a majority. Many non-union Wisconsin residents agreed with Walker’s crackdown. “I know there was a point for unions back in the day,” said Carrie Fox, who works for a billboard-advertising company. “But now there??s workers?? rights; there??s laws that protect us.” Vicki Guzman, a Canadian government employee who drove down from Guelph, Ontario, to join the protests, said, “It’s about solidarity, eh?” ReutersReutersChicago TribuneNYTDetroit planned to close a gap in its education budget by shuttering half the city’s schools and raising class sizes to 60 students, and the school board in Providence, Rhode Island, voted to fire all its nearly 2,000 teachers at the end of the year, which would allow the city to hire back teachers without honoring their union contract. Click On DetroitBoston GlobeA Texas college student and his friends created the Former Majority Association for Equality, which will offer scholarships worth $500 to deserving white men, and Warren Buffet, in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, said America’s “best days lie ahead.”MSNBCBBCA Florida programmer of Whac-a-Mole games was charged with violating intellectual-property laws for planting computer viruses that caused the arcade games to shut down, thus ensuring more work for himself.Orlando Sentinel

The Philippines marked the 25-year anniversary of the 1986 People Power rebellion that unseated dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos’s son Bongbong, now a senator, suggested his overpopulated, underdeveloped nation would be “like Singapore” today had his father not been ousted.GMANews.tvA 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, causing 30 million tons of ice to fall from a nearby glacier. More than 100 people died and hundreds more were missing; Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker warned survivors to prepare for “very black news.”NZ HeraldCNNNZ HeraldLouise Amantillo, a visiting 23-year-old student from the Philippines, was buried alive when the building housing her school collapsed. “Mommy, I got buried,” she texted her mother, whom she texted forty minutes later to say: “Mommy, I can’t move my right hand.” The final text before she died read: “Please, make it quick.”APA Chinese man slipped into a coma and died after three days of continuous online gaming with no sleep and little food, and Uzbekistan state television aired “Melody and Calamity,” a documentary made to persuade Uzbek youth to avoid the “pernicious influence of Western rock and rap music.” The program explained that “satanic music” like hip hop “was originated by inmates in prisons??that’s why rap singers wear wide and long trousers.”AFPAFP

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He made them groom and feed the half-dozen horses used to transport the raw bricks to the furnace. Like the horses, the children were beaten with whips.
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The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

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With its lens shifting from the courtroom to the newsroom to people’s back yards, the series evokes the way in which, for a brief, delusory moment, the O. J. verdict seemed to deliver justice for all black men.
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